Gaming at Running GAGG 2018
Matthew Jensen
United States
Perry
NY
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Having recently moved to western New York, I was set to discover how the board game community was near a small village of 4,000 people. Fortunately, I'm located between Buffalo and Rochester. Even better, the Geneseo Area Gaming Group runs an annual convention at SUNY Geneseo. This year that fell on the weekend of January 26 through the 28th. So I took my 19-year old son and made the 15 minute drive to see what gaming conventions mean in western New York.

Here's a list of the games we played and a break down of the show. If any of you are interested, more information on Running GAGG can be found at https://www.geneseo.edu/gagg/runninggagg.

In the end, we found a great gathering of gamers. More a mix of cosplay, video gaming, and rpging than I'm used to with my Utah-based cons, but a great mix.
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1. Board Game: DC Comics Deck-Building Game [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:700] [Average Rating:7.01 Unranked]
Matthew Jensen
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Perry
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My first game of the weekend was actually played on Thursday night with my two daughters. Something about ditching them to go to a convention all weekend made me want to play a game with them. We played the 2nd Crisis Expansion - cooperative mode. I finally had the pleasure of beating it so huzzah!
 
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2. Board Game: Scythe [Average Rating:8.30 Overall Rank:7]
Matthew Jensen
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Perry
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The first game at the con was a 2:00 PM scheduled session of Scythe. I had played it at SaltCON in Utah last March but my son Chance that loves 4X and civilization games hadn't yet. We sat down with a great group of people and enjoyed a six player session. I played purple and felt really good about things but really underutilized my traps. Neither of the two I set were ever triggered but I should have set more. In the end, I got caught way behind with only 44 points compared to the winning player at 90 or so. Chance enjoyed it and had 60 some odd points. Definitely an enjoyable experience.
 
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3. Board Game: Eldritch Horror [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:46]
Matthew Jensen
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Perry
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We had another scheduled game slot of a Legacy version of Eldritch Horror. One of the con's staffers had made rules for a Legacy event for EH that ran eight games. Each session would change the board for better or worse. The previous session had been slammed pretty hard and we had to clean things up. Chance was the Fisherman and I was the politician. Three other players helped us hold back the insanity and actually win the game on a projected final turn (we had ran out of time). We left the board better than we found it and hopefully set up our characters to be carried on by others. I regret not checking back with Jane, the staffer, to see how the end of the Legacy set turned out.

By far, this was my son's favorite game of the weekend. This game took us until about 9:00 so we called it good for the night.
 
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4. Board Game: Dungeons & Dragons Basic Game [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:2202]
Matthew Jensen
United States
Perry
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Alright... I don't know how to link in the RPGgeek stuff... It's been 30 years since I played D&D. My son never has. So we signed up for a starting Adventurer's League setting bright and early Saturday morning. At first we had four in our party but then another four joined in. It was a bit chaotic with eight adventurers and the session went almost a full four hours with character creation. It was fun but my son Chance, who was the one who wanted to try it out, came away with the feeling that D&D wasn't quite his cup of tea. Fun but just not our style.

Donna the GM was great. The gal running the D&D was even better as she'd pop in to role play an NPC and really brought in the flavor. Nice job!
 
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5. Board Game: Dice Forge [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:352]
Matthew Jensen
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Perry
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The D&D session was the end of our scheduled events for the Con. So we moseyed over to the game library to see what they had. Now mind you, I'm used to game libraries from SaltCON and StGCon - those are huge. Running GAGG? Not so much. But they did have such gems in there and Dice Forge was one that I'd been meaning to try. Our family is a huge Seasons fan so this one had been on my radar for awhile but I wanted to try it to see for sure.

Well, our Running GAGG two-player session put this on my must-buy list. It's a fun game with some definite strategy though Chance and I both agreed that more players would make it even better. I love the customization of the dice with out it becoming overly cumbersome. I ended up winning by 20+ or so and its because of a late game run on the moon shard card that gives you the gold hammer. Instead of gaining gold you advance the hammer and eventually get points. I lapped that card twice for maximum points and it gave me the game. Loved it!
 
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6. Board Game: Tiny Epic Quest [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:524]
Matthew Jensen
United States
Perry
NY
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The Tiny Epic series is something I've been involved in from the first. It's an interesting rehash of certain game elements in different elements. Kingdoms was the first and shows it age. Defenders is an underrated co-op. Galaxies is the evolution of Kingdoms. I didn't jump on Western and passed on Quest when it was on Kickstarter. Just wasn't sold on it though the IteMeeples seemed like a fun twist. It was sitting there in the library so that was where we went next.

Chance and I thought Quest was a great combination of several factors. There's definitely a retheme of certain aspects of Kingdoms, Defenders, and Galaxies there in a Zelda-esque environment. My one gripe is that it ends after five turns. Right when you are feeling good about things it suddenly ends. Chance trounced me. Quest is a nice game but not outside of the ItemMeeples, its a pass for me.
 
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7. Board Game: Sentient [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:1112]
Matthew Jensen
United States
Perry
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I've seen this game on the Geek and have been intrigued by the description of game play. It comes across as a worker placement/area of influence/set collection game. I know that's a hobo stew of games. But the art and the theme are beautiful so I wanted to try it. We sat down and started to figure this game out. I'm so glad we did.

This game is a strategic, quick game full of choices and resource management. I loved the fact that the assistants could be used to increase influence or manipulate card effects. It is a beautiful game that is strategic but timed correctly to keep you engaged. I ended up winning due to a huge engine score on the second round. Really enjoyed this game and it's now on my must buy list.
 
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8. Board Game: Flip Ships [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:1562]
Matthew Jensen
United States
Perry
NY
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I'm a sucker for dexterity games. Not great at them but a sucker to try them. We pulled Flip Ships out of the library and was told that it was the board game version of Space Invaders. It really is. We went through the little ships very quickly without too much damage when the final assault occurred and the mother ship just squished us. It takes some fine flipping talent to successfully hit at the distance that the mother ship is. We couldn't do it on our first go even though we would have only needed to hit it twice. We died a horrible death.

The game is cool in that there are different powers for each player and you gain more as the game goes on. That's pretty cool. The game's not on my buy list but I'd play it again.
 
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9. Board Game: Runebound (Third Edition) [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:418]
Matthew Jensen
United States
Perry
NY
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Alright... I didn't play this one at Running GAGG. However, the auction started in the main hall so Chance and I just watched that for a little while. Sharing our table was a family playing Terraforming Mars that had Chance's eye and I was stalking Runebound 3rd edition at the vendor table. Didn't buy it as I had not budgeted purchases for this con. However, as a big Runebound/Terrinoth fan, I was sorely tempted to do so. It was getting to be 7:00 on Saturday and my wife was wanting us back home to help out with some projects so we finally called it a day. No purchase of Runebound 3rd edition but a very satisfied opinion of Running GAGG. We'll definitely plan on it in the years to come.
 
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10. Board Game: Star Wars: Rebellion [Average Rating:8.49 Overall Rank:6]
Matthew Jensen
United States
Perry
NY
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While we didn't go back to the Con on Sunday, we did end up playing a game to keep the weekend rolling. Chance and I hadn't sat down for Rebellion in some time and our copy of the Rise of the Empire expansion had yet to be played. We pulled that out on Sunday evening and were up way too late. I was Empire and relished the new abilities that came with the expansion. Additionally, the change in combat was a warm welcome. We really enjoyed the game - I crossed Obi-Wan over to the Dark Side, blew up Kashyyk, and dominated in battle. Unfortunately, I was torn on where the Rebel Base was and went the wrong direction. He had hidden it on Endor and when I explored there, he had enough forces to keep me from winning the game. I still need to win as the Empire.....
 
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